Rick Mauch — Special Contributor
Larry Holman had always hoped to lead his own basketball program someday.
Along the way, he fell in love with his latest stop as an assistant at Weatherford College, and the result was a perfect match.
On Oct. 22, Holman was named head coach of the Coyotes. He had served as an assistant for the team since 2008, first under Dave Donnelly and last year under coach Bob McKinley.
McKinley worked double duty in the 2011-12 season. He has been the long-time coach of the Lady Coyotes.
McKinley will continue to coach the Lady Coyotes, who enter the season ranked fifth nationally in the NJCAA. He is also athletic director.
“Larry’s ready, he’s paid his dues,” said McKinley. “He’s more than qualified to take over these responsibilities.”
Holman previously worked as an assistant at Plano East High School, Sul Ross University and the University of Texas-Dallas.
Holman inherits a team that returns a pair of key players after finishing 14-13 and getting back to Region V Tournament last season after an absence of a few years.
Returning are 5’11” sophomore guard Deon Willis from Arlington, who started about 50 percent of the games, along with 6’10” sophomore forward Eric Stubbs from Kansas City, who started about 25 percent of the time.
Holman said he feels as though staying in-house to name a new men’s coach will also be key to the team’s success this season, and will help him feel a lot more comfortable at the helm.
“It’s a big advantage. I’m familiar with the school, the players, everything around,” he said. “It’s easy to slide into that chair.
“With me being here, it’s going to be a whole lot easier on the players. It’s tough when players get a new coach and don’t know what to expect.”
Holman said getting the job is truly a dream come true. He thought, however, he might have to wait another year.
“I was shocked, but I like these kinds of surprises,” he said. “I was doing a little work and my phone starts ringing and the email goes crazy, and I knew what was happening.
“The first thing that comes to mind is how blessed I am and how fortunate I am to be a head coach at a school like this. They just felt confident with me.”
Holman said he feels like the timing for the move is right, and serving as McKinley’s assistant for a year made him that much more prepared for the challenge.
McKinley has more than 800 career victories in nearly 40 years of coaching.
“When you work under a guy coach like Bob, you get a chance to learn from the best, that’s plain and simple,” said Holman.
‘I got a chance to work with a legend, to watch him during practice and see him on the sidelines during games. Words can’t explain what I got from him.
“People respect him. There’s an aura around him, and because I worked with him I feel all the better for it.”
So is there pressure working alongside a legend?
“I walk in that gym and see 800 (items commemorating McKinley’s wins) and that’s a little pressure, I admit,” Holman said. “But Bob said, ‘take it one game at a time.’
“That’s worked for him, so I am certainly going to listen.”